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Optimal time to exercise for weight loss

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If you’ve been working out, maintaining a healthy diet and not seeing the weight loss results you were hoping for, perhaps you’re exercising at the wrong time of the day. According to Belgium researchers, exercising early before breakfast is the best way to burn fat and prevent weight gain.

The 2010 study published in the Journal of Physiology enlisted the help of healthy men aged between 18 and 25 years old to investigate whether working out first thing in a fasted state had any impact on their blood glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity when compared to training mid-morning or not at all.

Weight gain prevented by morning fasted exercise

For 6 weeks the male participants were divided into three groups. Everyone consumed a diet that was 30 percent higher in calories and 50 percent higher in fat than what they had been normally eating.

  • Group 1 – remained sedentary, only eating the high caloric and fat diet.
  • Group 2 – were provided with a strenuous workout program 4 days per week, which they were to do in the mid-morning after
  • Group 3 – were given the same workout program 4 days per week, but were to exercise in the morning before their first meal.

By the end of the 6 weeks trial the results were clear; exercising in the morning before eating anything saw the greatest results. Those who didn’t exercise gained nearly 3kgs each, developed insulin resistance (a major contributing factor for weight gain and Type 2 diabetes), and developed new fat cells in their muscles.

The men who worked out after eating breakfast also experienced weight gain of about 1.5kgs and developed insulin sensitivity problems.

Those men in group 3 who had trained in the morning prior to eating, gained almost no weight. Furthermore, they retained their healthy insulin levels, reducing their risk of metabolic conditions like diabetes, and continued to burn more fat throughout the day.

While exercising in a fasted state first thing didn’t necessarily promote weight loss, it did prevent any weight gain. Professor and study Author Peter Hespel says the study results are encouraging for people who are looking to drop a few extra kilos.

“The optimal strategy to prevent increases in body weight is obviously to combine a healthy, well-balanced diet with a physically active lifestyle,” he said.

However, if you’re enjoying a treat every now and then, the study demonstrates “that early-morning exercise in the fasted state is more potent than an identical amount of exercise in the fed state” for preventing weight gain.

Burn more fat to gain better results

A more recent study published in the British Journal of Nutrition found by doing a cardio workout in the morning prior to eating you can burn up to 20 percent more body fat than if you ate beforehand.

Furthermore, a 2012 study conducted by the Laboratory of Pharmacology in Tunisia found that training on a fasted state helps to not only loses body weight, but also body fat percentage and decrease some metabolic parameters.

The main reasons training in the morning on a fasted state helps burn more fat are:

  1. During your fast, your body conserves it’s carbohydrate stores due to the low blood sugar, and places a greater preference to utilise fat for fuel instead of glucose.
  2. Amino acids are broken down into glucose while you’re sleeping, so exercising in a fasted state sees you use more fat and more amino acids for fuel. This is ideal for weight loss, but not all that great if your wanting to build muscle.
  3. Some of your hormones, in particular, cortisol, are higher in the morning helping burn fat at a much faster rate.
  4. Exercise and fasting at the same time will produce oxidative stress. This is beneficial for the muscles as it makes them more resistant and stimulates glutathione and superoxide dismutase. This will help your muscles utilise energy, generate a greater force and prevent fatigue.

Fasting and exercising before and after liposuction surgery

Contrary to popular opinion, liposuction surgery is not the magic answer to weight loss. Cosmetic surgery doesn’t replace eating a healthy diet and regular exercise, and some patients are required to lose weight prior to their procedure. This is to ensure they achieve the best results, improve their healing time and reduce the risks of complications.

If you’re considering liposuction, exercising in a fasted state, coupled with a healthy diet is likely to help support weight loss so that you can undergo the desired surgery sooner. To speed up the number of kilos you lose, intermittent fasting is considered one of the healthiest ways you can lose weight and improve your metabolic health, which will protect you against many chronic diseases and increase your longevity.

You can read more about intermittent fasting and it’s benefits here.

Post liposuction surgery, exercising in the morning in a fasted state is the best way you can ensure you maintain your new shape long after your procedure.

You’re also more likely to build a routine by exercising first thing, and reduce your chances of giving your workout a miss because you’ve had a draining day or opt for Friday night drinks instead.

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